It is only a “matter of time” until the world sees the end of the Islamic Republic regime in Iran, Reza Pahlavi, the exiled eldest son of the last Shah (king) of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, told Saudi newspaper Arab News.
“Any totalitarian system, history has shown it doesn’t last,” Pahlavi, speaking from Washington, DC, told Arab News’ Frank Kane during an appearance with the newspaper’s Frankly Speaking show.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown in a 1979 revolution led by Ruhollah Khomeini, who went on to found the Islamic Republic.
Reza Pahlavi said Iran’s youth want a different life – one that the country’s regime doesn’t provide.
“Today, we see the chance for freedom more and more, louder and louder in every corner of the country. And that’s indicative of the fact that not only the regime has lost its legitimacy, but it’s beginning to lose its grasp as well.”
When it comes to the JCPOA, or the Iran nuclear deal, Pahlavi told Kane Iran’s regime “cannot change its behavior because its entire existence depends on its survival.”
Iran wants “to export an ideology and dominate the region either directly or via proxies,” according to Pahlavi, who added that the regime is incapable of coming to terms with the way the world wants to see the norm.
“So regardless of what is trying to be negotiated here, the net outcome is that it’s futile and the regime is simply using whatever it is as a means of blackmail, forcing the world to deal with it so it can continue maintaining its grip in the geopolitics of our region,” he said.
Pahlavi said lifting sanctions on Tehran will embolden the Islamic Republic and “enable it to further its constant state of creating instability in the region.”
“I think the only way to get more results is not by relaxing pressure but by exerting more pressure,” he said.
Applying more pressure on the Islamic Republic is beneficial for the Iranian people who “pay the price every time the regime gets a second breath,” said Pahlavi.
Pahlavi said he does not expect the Iranian people to receive any of the economic benefits that the regime would obtain should the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna result in Teheran getting sanctions relief.
“We have seen that happen already once during the Obama administration, where a tremendous amount of money was released to the regime and none of it was spent on the people of Iran,” he said.
Iran and world powers have been engaged in talks in Vienna since April aimed at reviving the nuclear deal. Former US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran.
Asked about Iran’s support for regional militias, Pahlavi said the interests of the Iranian people and their rulers are entirely different.
“The regime has every interest to continue fomenting instability because its survival depends on that. On the other hand, our national interest depends first and foremost on having stability and peace, and cordial relationship with our neighbors, as opposed to constantly meddling into their internal affairs by various means of interference,” he said.
Commenting on a recent interview in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Saudi Arabia wants a “prosperous” Iran and aspires to have good relations with Tehran, Pahlavi said: “I think it’s a message to the people of Iran more than it is a message to the regime. So, I think the message, if indeed it is what I assume it is, will certainly be well received by the people of Iran.”
“The regime is on its way down, and sooner or later, people will be free in Iran, and they will be the ones to have to choose and respond to this gesture,” he added.
Pahlavi said he anticipates good relations between Iran and its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, once the current regime in Tehran is gone.
“Look at the way the relationship was before the revolution [in 1979]. When King Faisal of Saudi Arabia passed away, there was a seven-day mourning period in Iran.”
Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to diversify the economy away from oil, Pahlavi said he could not be “happier to see that evolution.”
Pahlavi also praised the Abraham Accords between Israel and Arab countries, saying: “We’re in the direction of progress and regional cooperation and opportunities. That’s exactly what the dream of an Iranian is, and I would believe probably a Syrian or an Iraqi [as well], who are stuck with the axis of resistance that keeps them from having such opportunities.”
Pahlavi said the Iranian people, in contrast to their rulers, have “no animosity” toward Israel.
“Once Iran is liberated, the people of Iran will be the first to say [to Israel], hey, we have no quarrels with you. We want to be your friends. We want to be part of the free world.”
Pahlavi said he has no plans to be the next Shah (king) of Iran.
“My only mission in life is to get to that finish line, which is the liberation of Iran, push this regime out, and have an opportunity to establish a new secular democratic system in our country. That will be the end of my political mission in life,” he said.